Dragons of Stormwreck Isle

October 7, 2022

I'm preparing to run Dragons of Stormwreck Isle (DOSI), annotating maps, taking notes, and creating some NPC portraits, including Elder Runara in human form and Tarak, former member of the notorious Gilded Gallows thieve's guild who has apparently turned his back on his past, and instead turned his attention and intellect to gardening. Characters with a criminal background along the sword coast might recognize the I'll Tie My Own Knot / Gilded Gallows noose tattoo.

Magic, the Three-Worlds Interpretation

August 15, 2021

A teaser page from a Book of Seaborn Lore I'm creating, mostly from the perspective of the fictional lore master himself, Michael Henderson. This is part of a long-running game design project I have going.

Add another dimension to your city and village maps

August 8, 2021

I was going to run Waterdeep - Dragon Heist a while back—It didn’t end up happening (probably start later this year), but along the way, while prepping for the adventure, I thought it would be cool to create a 3D-ish version of the area around the Yawning Portal, or the important sections of the Docks Ward. (I was also thinking it would be cool to build out a couple areas of Ankh Morpork).

I bought a $6 bag of replacement Monopoly houses, painted them with primer black and then did a zenithal highlight with Citadel’s very dramatic “Wraith Bone”, which is just what it sounds like, sort of a pale warm white. Magnets were the key. I’ve been using a 12x18 inch steel board to hold down maps and dungeon cards, with magnetic “push pins” to mark adventurers and monsters. So, I glued magnets into each of the buildings, printed a batch of larger, more detailed houses and buildings on the resin printer, and now I have the ability to construct some pretty interesting maps.

Models for tiny medieval city buildings:

300 PCS Premium Brushed Nickel Whiteboard Magnets
17.5" x 12" Magnetic Board

Our intrepid heros are standing around at the edge of Phandalin (middle, top) while bottom, left, a gnoll battle team is about to cause some trouble for the town's inhabitants:

Playing with the lighting:

Playbooks & Classes

April 16, 2021

The Playbook in PbtA Games is a streamlined version of Class and Subclass in D&D. I know there's a lot of arguing back and forth on this—often passionately and sometimes dogmatically, but I don't see any difference other than Class elements well-edited and focused down to fit on a couple pages of a Playbook. And don't get me wrong, Playbooks are brilliant game components. A brand new player can sit down, pick one just by an evocative name ("The Savvyhead"), read through the options, special moves, flip it over, read a little more, and be able to play tolerably well. I would argue it's the inviting format along with the design wisdom applied to what goes or stays on the page that makes Playbooks special. It's all there in D&D, but a new player will have to read through the Class information, pick a Subclass, background, proficiencies, and then sort out cantrips and spells for first level from a different part of the Player's Handbook. Playbooks and D&D Classes both represent the rules, constraints, special abilities, roleplaying direction, and fictional bearing for a particular kind of character. A 5e Warlock has a patron—that's built into the Class. They do not have powers of their own, but have negotiated or given themselves to something that provides that power—magic, immunities to conditions, along with a deep fictional base, like how the hell did you come to the attention of one of the most powerful demons in Solgrallen, and what did you trade for a piece of that power? A good DM like a good MC will make sure that comes up in gameplay. Count on it.

One more thing: it's popular in D&D to provide pre-gen characters with a range of classes and everything but the name, maybe background, a few abilities pre-selected. With this approach, a new D&D player doesn't have any more to do than a new PbtA player. There are some great pre-gens on DMsGuild built specifically for new players. The other side of this is an entire session--hours of "play" spent creating the exact character you want to bring to the story, a process many D&D players thoroughly enjoy and prefer. 

Playing with a custom D&D 5e character sheet

April 12, 2021

Just a little something I put together in Photoshop. Here's the front. The back has a lot of room for info, magic, inventory, track your coppers, silver, and gold.

Download in PDF (both pages), Front, Back

Use the links above to download the full size versions.



The magic in Seaborn Chapter 1... and Mr. Henderson

November 1, 2020

This 2-page spread contains the complete chapter with highlighted magical events along with a defined NPC stat block for Michael Henderson for both Dungeons & Dragons 5e and Ironsworn. The spell/ritual Soul Shape is included for both as well.

Full size link:


Just a creative human with a pen and a paint brush. More here: https://www.saltwaterwitch.com